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Little League Elbow

(Elbow, Little League; Medial Apophysitis; Overuse Elbow Injury Related to Throwing)

Definition

Little League elbow is pain in the elbow joint due to repetitive throwing. This injury occurs in young baseball pitchers before puberty.
The Elbow Joint
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Causes

During this injury, the ligament attached to the inner side of the elbow begins to pull one of the growth plates away from the rest of the bone. Since the bones are still growing, the growth plates are weak and susceptible to injury. Certain types of throwing may lead to this condition, such as:

Risk Factors

Little League elbow is more common in boys and in those aged 10-15 years old. Baseball pitching, especially throwing curve balls or sliders also increases risk.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. Other information needed will include how the injury occurred, when the pain occurs, and about previous injuries.
The doctor will also:

Treatment

Treatment and recovery depend on the severity of the injury. Recovery time ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months.
Treatment includes:

Prevention

To reduce your chance of Little League elbow:

RESOURCES

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

References

Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. American Academy of Pediatrics: Risk of injury from baseball and softball in children. Pediatrics. 2001;107(4):782-784.

Overuse elbow injury related to throwing. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 6, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

Throwing injuries in the elbow in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00328. Updated April 2011. Accessed December 16, 2014.

Why counting pitches counts. The National Athletic Trainers' Association website. Available at: http://www.nata.org/nata-news-blog/why-counting-pitches-counts. Accessed December 16, 2014.

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